Kudos to Nate Silver and Public Policy Polling

Admittedly, I read Nate Silver, author of FiveThirtyEight, pretty often. His commentary on polling and trends has always been insightful. Unfortunately, Silver was unfairly slammed by conservative pundits who thought that he had a bias against Mitt Romney, especially after a story broke that he had received internal polling from Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008.

Silver was a winner on Tuesday night, whether you want to admit it or not. I hope Republicans realize that, while he may have his own opinions, Silver does a good job of providing factual information to those who want a better understanding of polling and predicting electoral results.

According to a study released yesterday, Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina-based Democratic firm, was the nation’s most accurate pollster. They may ask some ridiculous questions to Republicans from time to time in their polling, but they got it right. Like Silver, they also deserve credit.

Who was among the most inaccurate pollsters? Rasmussen Reports and Gallup, both of which were frequently touted by Republicans in the days preceding the election. In an interview with Dave Weigel, Scott Rasmussen named a number of reasons why he got the election so wrong, including underestimating whites and young voters. Weigel also notes that Rasmussen had a fall-off in Democratic Party identification in its polling. Whether he fixes it or not, Rasmussen has a long way to go to gain any shred of credibility back.

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